Personnel of the Rajasthan Police and black-uniformed members of the Special Task Force sat on vigil near buildings and residential areas of minorities.
THE series of attacks on Muslims in Rajasthan, including the latest one, the murder of a migrant worker in Rajsamand, have created a climate of fear and anxiety in the minority community.
“You know, the atmosphere in Mewar was different earlier. We have seen some good times. Ab sukoon khatam ho gaya hai [There is no peace of mind now],” said 77-year-old Manzoor Hussain Haji, sitting cross-legged at the Hussaini mosque crossing in Rajsamand town. Haji did not spell it out, but his anxiety was palpable. He was referring to the recent brutal murder of a migrant worker in Rajsamand and the insecurity that minorities have begun to feel in Rajasthan. Personnel of the Rajasthan Police and black-uniformed members of the Special Task Force sat on vigil near buildings and residential areas of minorities.
On December 6, Shambhu Lal Regar hacked to death Mohammad Afrazul, a labourer from Malda in West Bengal, in broad daylight. It was a premeditated murder. He lured Afrazul on the pretext of having some work for him at a construction site. As Afrazul moved towards the site, Regar struck him from behind and then repeatedly hacked at him until he died. He then burnt the body and got the entire act videographed with the help of his nephew, a schoolgoing minor. Rajsamand had never witnessed such barbarity in recent times. The video, shot on a phone, was uploaded and widely circulated. Even small children seem to have seen it. Not stopping at murder, Regar justified his action, citing the attack as a reprisal for “love jehad”. He warned that all love jehadis would meet a similar fate.
“It is impossible to see the video. It is a heartless murder. I felt angry. I cannot imagine anyone doing such a thing,” said Madhavi Kumawat, a student from Doyinda Kasbah, the locality where Afrazul stayed with a group of fellow Bengali labourers.
“They say that these Bengali labourers used to kidnap local girls and take them to Bengal. It is all nonsense.” A neighbour of Afrazul told Frontline that he was a “good man who kept to himself”. No woman was ever seen visiting the rented house where he lived.
“His landlord is a Brahmin. He wouldn’t have given his house on rent to these men if they were indulging in such activities. Ten of them used to stay in one house. They cooked rice,” said the neighbour, requesting anonymity. All the migrants have left the kasbah. “They observe a 40-day mourning. Maybe they might return, maybe not. Things are not normal. This was a very bad thing to happen,” she added.